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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   18 October 2013  

Rubber sales fall in tough year

Vietnam: The export value of rubber and products made from rubber trees is expected to reach US$4 billion this year, $26 million lower than last year, including $2.4 billion from rubber exports.

According to Nguyen Thi Thuy Hoa, Viet Nam Rubber Association (VRA) general secretary, rubber sales this year would likely decline because the world economy had not completely recovered.

The world rubber market is in a difficult period, as the global stockpile of rubber will reach 2.17 million tonnes in 2014, which means an oversupply, Hoa said.

The average export price of rubber last year fell 30 per cent; this year, the price continued falling, plunging 17.7 per cent to $2,393 per tonne in the first nine months.

According to the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the export price on the world market is expected to drop further because global rubber output will reach 11.8 million tonnes, higher than global demand (11.6 million).

Viet Nam is the world's third-largest rubber producer and the fifth-largest rubber exporter. However, the export value of Vietnamese rubber is not high because the local rubber industry has not implemented modern processing technology, Hoa said.

Because Vietnamese rubber is viewed as low quality, almost all rubber products are exported to China. Local exporters have not made luxury products to ship to other potential markets such as the US, South Korea, Germany and Japan.

The local rubber industry has a development strategy to improve the value and quality of rubber products, Hoa said. The VRA has studied world demand and promoted quality management to improve the industry's competitive ability and build a trademark for Vietnamese rubber products.

In the first nine months of this year, Viet Nam exported 710,000 tonnes of rubber, earning $1.68 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Exports fell year-on-year by 1.2 per cent in volume and 17.8 per cent in value.

China was still the largest export market of Vietnamese rubber, accounting for 42.7 per cent of the total export value, but exports in the first nine months tumbled 10.3 per cent in volume and 24.8 per cent in value.

Viet Nam's second-largest rubber export market was Malaysia, accounting for 21.2 per cent of the total export value.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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